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Concert Reviews:
Aerosmith Show Still Guarantees A Good Time
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- An Aerosmith concert on a Saturday night is as winning a formula as the University of Michigan football team playing a Division I-AA school. Most years, at least.

Aerosmith, however, proved to be a better bet at the on Saturday (Sept. 8) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, living up to its hard-earned reputation for typical excellence with a 17-song show that found the Boston quintet playing as fiercely energetic as bands one-third the members' ages, and also more aesthetically polished than most of them.

Kicking off a short run of September shows, the group came out swinging for the fences -- and connecting. Following a sturdy opening set by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and an introductory video recapping its world travels earlier in the year, Aerosmith led with hot versions of "Love in an Elevator" and "Same Old Song and Dance," each of which had frenetic frontman Steven Tyler yowling and guitarist Joe Perry -- dubbed "Admiral" due to his military attire -- firing off solos like a jovial but intense gunslinger.

Aerosmith had plenty of other hits to offer the spirited and party-minded crowd, including "Crying," "What it Takes," "Dream On," "Sweet Emotion," "Livin' on the Edge," "Sweet Emotion" and the show-closing "Walk This Way," introduced with a few lines of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." But this time out, without the agenda of any kind of new product to promote, Aerosmith dug into its 34-year catalog for some gems and came up with a fiery charge through "Rats in the Cellar," a chunky version of "Last Child," a rootsy "Movin' Out" with Tyler and Perry seated at the end of a ramp that jutted 15 rows into the audience and a brash gallop through "S.O.S. (Too Bad)."

The group also offered plenty of vamps and jams, extending its renditions of Joe William's oft-recorded "Baby Please Don't Go," Rufus Thomas' "Walkin' the Dog" and the Perry-sung "Stop Messin' 'Round," an early Fleetwood Mac chestunut which allowed all the musicians to pass the ball with solo spots before Perry finished the song playing his guitar behind his head. "Draw the Line" gave him a chance to stretch out, too -- and to flog his guitar with his shirt while glitter erupted from the stage floor.

It's hard not to marvel at how consistently solid Aerosmith has become in recent years -- especially considering that, with all it's acknowledged drug abuse and interpersonal demons, it's lucky and perhaps even miraculous the band is still together and playing at all. But nobody at DTE was complaining, and when Tyler told the crowd, "Detroit, I could get addicted to you," the sentiment was entirely mutual.



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